- The Fed news was as expected. Powell said the Federal Reserve is far from ending its anti-inflation campaign of interest-rate increases as officials signaled borrowing costs would head higher than investors expect next year. "We still have some ways to go," he told a press conference on Wednesday. The Federal Open Market Committee raised the benchmark rate by 50 basis points to a 4.25% - 4.5% target range. Policymakers projected rates would end next year at 5.1% before being cut to 4.1% in 2024 — a higher level than previously indicated.
- S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain approved a request from Puerto Rico's Financial Oversight Board for more time to submit a plan to restructure $9 billion of debt owed by the island's bankrupt power utility. However, she registered some displeasure with the panel's continued delays. "Given the importance to Puerto Rico — and all of the stakeholders — of the issues that we are dealing with in seeking to get a proper PREPA Plan to confirmation in a timely manner by the middle of this year, I am deeply disturbed by that,” Swain said during a court hearing on Wednesday.
- Chicago accelerated its first bond deal since shedding its junk credit rating last month. The city sold more than half a billion dollars in general obligation debt Thursday amid declining yields and growing investor demand. The deal's timing was moved up to take advantage of the positive tone in the market and was upsized to lock in the attractive pricing for more bonds.
- Primary market: Visible supply begins the week at $3.4 billion, considerably below the 2022 average of $10.2 billion. The most significant sales expected to price this week include a $1.88 billion issue for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and a $253.6 million deal for the Idaho Housing & Finance Association.
- "U.S. higher education institutions will continue to struggle with inflationary costs, labor pressures, mixed enrollment trends, and a continued need for elevated expenditure controls," Fitch Ratings Senior Director Emily Wadhwani said in a note Thursday. She gave the sector a "deteriorating" outlook for 2023.
- Good news on airports, I see these bonds increasing in value in the next few weeks. The U.S. airport sector view is now stable as increased levels of travel resumed following the disruption from the pandemic, S&P Global Ratings said in a report Thursday. "Our view of the sector has changed to stable from positive, reflecting our opinion that demand has substantially recovered, which supports financial metrics and rating stability," Joe Pezzimenti, an analyst at S&P, said in the report.
- Fund flows: Investors added about $47 million to municipal-bond funds during the week that ended Wednesday, according to Refinitiv Lipper US Fund Flows data. The inflow follows last week's $1.4 billion outflow and marks only the third week of gains since August.
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